Integrated Marketing Communications – 5 Primary Communication Tools

Communication is always one of the most important and vital strategic areas of an organization’s success. You can have the best or most innovative products or services, but if your internal and external communications are weak, then the demand for your products or services raises a personal flag of concern. When communicating the value of your products or services, you want to focus on how they will benefit your clients.

When planning your strategy for Integrated Marketing Communication or IMC, you want to have dialogue with your customers by inviting interaction through the coordinated efforts of content, timing and delivery of your products or services. By ensuring direction, clarity, consistency, timing and appearance of your messages, conveyed to your targeted audience, these factors will help avoid any confusion about the benefits of your brand, through the connection of instant product recognition.

When looking at your marketing mix, you’re examining price, distribution, advertising and promotion, along with customer service. Integrated marketing communication is part of that marketing mix included in your marketing plan. IMC strategies define your target audience, establishes objectives and budgets, analyzes any social, competitive, cultural or technological issues, and conducts research to evaluate the effectiveness of your promotional strategies.

If companies are ethically planning, communicating, and following industry guidelines, they will most likely earn the trust of their customers and target audience. There are five basic tools of integrated marketing communication:

1. Advertising:

This tool can get your messages to large audiences efficiently through such avenues as radio, TV, Magazines, Newspapers (ROP), Internet, Billboards and other mobile technological communication devices. This method can efficiently reach a large number of consumers, although the costs may be somewhat expensive.

2. Sales Promotion:

This tool is used through coupons, contests, samples, premiums, demonstrations, displays or incentives. It is used to accelerate short-term sales, by building brand awareness and encouraging repeat buying.

3. Public Relations:

This integrated marketing communications tool is initiated through public appearances, news/press releases or event sponsorships, to build trust and goodwill by presenting the product, company or person in a positive light.

4. Direct Marketing:

This tool will utilized email, mail, catalogs, encourage direct responses to radio and TV, in order to reach targeted audiences to increase sales and test new products and alternate marketing tactics.

5. Personal Selling:

Setting sales appointments and meetings, home parties, making presentations and any type of one-to-one communication, to reach your customers and strengthen your relationship with your clients, initiate this IMC tool.

Decisions linking the overall objectives and strategies during the marketing planning phases help to evaluate and fine-tune the specific activities of integrated marketing communication. Before selecting an IMC tool, marketing, product and brand managers must look at social, competitive, legal, regulatory, ethics, cultural and technological considerations. One thing you want to avoid when activating the tools of integrated marketing communication is reaching inappropriate audiences and causing controversy. That could be damaging when trying to build brand awareness and encourage consumer spending with your company. When marketing managers examine the beliefs, emotions and behavior of their targeted audience towards their brand, they can influence their beliefs to achieve product awareness, by attracting attention to their promotional campaigns.

The Importance of Electrical Engineers

What Electrical Engineers do for society is very important. The top areas you will find Electrical Engineers are in construction and manufacturing. Engineers are present in most all things used day to day. Technology with Electrical Engineers would be equivalent to kitchens without chefs.

They attend a 4 year ABET accredited college at a minimum and obtain a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering or the BSEE degree. Some will continue on to obtain a Masters Degree in engineering as well. After college they may obtain PE license to become a professional engineer registered with different states throughout the United States. Often college graduates will become EIT or Engineer in Training after passing a Fundamentals of Engineering Exam. After that, you must achieve a certain amount of experience while working directly under another Professional Engineer or a PE. All of this will vary from state to state but typically that is the progression of a student towards obtaining PE certification. It should be noted that not all engineering positions require PE certification and not all electrical engineers will have PE certifications.

After school, an engineer will obtain a position with industry specific electrical work. For example in manufacturing the role of an engineer will differ from what a power industry or microprocessor engineer would do. The sub categories of an EE would be power, electronics, control systems, signal processing and telecommunications. The work of an electrical engineer surrounds us. The basis of cell phone design, to computers and down to the electricity coming from the wall outlet powering your computer all leads back to the work of electrical engineers.

An engineer can play the role of inventor and designer. As engineers improve or invent things patent protection can be sought to protect the idea. Often things invented within the constraints of employment may become the property of the employer just FYI. Things to reference as examples of this would be computers, light bulbs and cell phones. An electrical engineer will design a circuit board with components like resistors and capacitors to function for its intended use.

In the construction industry an engineer would design circuits and power delivering devices in order to maintain power to the end user. For example in a Hospital setting, certain criteria exist for machines that need power and cannot afford interruption. An example of this would be life support machines. A doctor wouldn’t want a patient to die because of power failure so electrical engineers would design circuits, evaluate loads, and hook to an emergency generator for example to maintain constant power. These are just some of the ways engineers contribute to society. Through this article, I hope I have established the importance of Electrical Engineers to society.

I Feel Emotionally Detached – What Does it Mean and What Can I Do?

This is the urgent question I received in my in-box last week. It came from a woman who was clearly becoming increasingly panic-stricken at the impending life changes she will experience soon.

If you are feeling emotionally detached from your surroundings, your friends and your family, you are most likely experiencing a symptom of anxiety disorder. Some people say they have a sense of unreality. It’s also referred to as derealization and depersonalization – a sense that nothing is real.

Many people think they are losing their minds because they know these feelings are not normal. It’s a scary experience, and it can happen to anyone who is under severe stress for an extended period of time.

The woman I’ve been helping with her anxiety-related problems emailed me with concerns about these feelings that had taken over her life. She was about to get married and move away from the family home where she’d always felt safe and secure.

Suddenly, she would have to ‘make it’ in her own home with all the responsibilities it entails. The stress of having to sort out in her own mind all the drastic changes that face her was overwhelming.

For the first time in her life, she had anxiety disorder. The attacks only hit her in a few areas, but they were gradually filtering across her entire life. That’s when the feeling of ‘not belonging’, of ‘feeling detached’, struck. She became very afraid of what it meant and how bad it would get.

Apart from feeling detached, she was constantly feeling sleepy even though she believed she was getting sufficient sleep.

Like many anxiety-sufferers, she feared that she was going crazy – losing her mind. The disconcerting thing for her is that she has always been very close to her family and always under their protection.

When she developed an increasing sense of distance between her and her family and coworkers she became extremely worried. She felt like she ‘doesn’t belong’ with them. She was experiencing depersonalization or derealization.

If you experience similar symptoms, here’s what’s causing them.

First off, sleepiness is an escape mechanism and so is being in a state of feeling detached. They are common side effects of anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorder and panic trigger in us a fear for our safety. Feeling anxious is not normal so we believe there must be something terribly wrong and that we must protect ourselves in whatever way we can.

It all comes back to the fight or flight mechanism that goes into action when we are in threatening or perceived threatening situations. The unresolved conflict of what to do triggers anxiety attacks. If allowed to continue, it becomes anxiety disorder.

In a crisis, our bodies send messages to prepare to defend ourselves. We increase our heart rate so that more energy is available in our muscles so we can run from the danger if need be.

If you’ve ever had a near-miss accident or been involved in a fender bender, you will know that feeling of being disassociated for a very short time. What happened is you separated your emotional from the logical side of your brain so you could deal with the crisis in a way that your decisions would not be clouded by emotion.

When your emotions are confused or threatened, we react similarly by separating our emotions from our logical brains, thereby creating a sense of disassociated and detached. Your body is doing what is necessary to protect your emotions, which can be fragile sometimes.

In the case of my contact, she was dreading the whole idea of moving away from the comfort of her family home – lots of questions and doubts. A great deal of emotions were involved… ranging from happiness about the marriage and fear of the unknown… too much for her to deal with. If she didn’t develop some level of detachment from her surroundings and her immediate family, the effect of the mounting stress on her emotions would be unhealthy.

Sleep acts as an escape from the stress. It also provides relief from the constant pressure we’re under. Although my contact thinks she sleeps well, chances are she doesn’t get proper restful sleep. This prevents her body from ‘repairing’ itself from each day’s stresses, both physically and mentally.

On top of this, the lack of sleep alone can cause a sense of detachment because our minds want to sleep but our bodies don’t allow it. It’s not unlike the feeling we get when we are getting very tired at the end of the day and ready for bed. Our brains are beginning to shut down in preparation for sleep. This state creates a type of separation of our minds from our bodies.

It’s important not to get too obsessed about feeling detached when you are going through anxiety disorder and panic, and experiencing that sense of derealization. Although it’s uncomfortable to feel that way, and certainly disconcerting, it’s not serious. It’s self-preservation tactics at work.

We use our emotions when dealing with friends, family and coworkers. They help us to understand how others are feeling and what their conversations really mean. Our emotions are always at work as part of our communication network. Without emotions, it would be difficult for us to truly understand the intent behind what people say and do.

When your body feels the need to put its emotions in a protective place, it blocks those over-worked emotions so they can rest and not burn out. When we feel stronger mentally and our bodies are properly aligned again, that blockage will be released and the feelings of connection between us and our surroundings will return to normal.

What can you do in the meantime?

It’s not easy, but the first step is to try not to worry about those feelings. One way to do that is to find something to distract you. For instance, do something enjoyable and relaxing, like going swimming, reading a good book, taking a drive in the country, visit your favorite place, take part in your favorite community event.

If lack of sleep is the problem, try something different. Instead of lying in bed trying to get to sleep, try staying awake instead. Pull out a book and read – when you feel sleepy, don’t give in. Try to stay awake as long as possible until your body just refuses to obey. There’s no scientific evidence this will work – it’s just a theory that’s certainly worth a try.

To sort through your crisis, however, you need to take more definite steps. Your first goal must be to take back control. Here’s what we’re aiming for:

  • First… control your thoughts.
  • Second… control your life.
  • The end result… you control your anxiety disorder.

If you have a pressing issue that needs resolving and it’s causing you distress – or if you have a major life change coming up and you are feeling at sea – there are things you can do right now.

Let’s take my friend’s case. She’s getting married and moving into a new home with her husband, leaving her family behind. She doesn’t know what to expect and this is making her very nervous and anxious. The underlying derealization has her downright scared.

Get to the root of your distress and take control

If you’re planning to get married or start out on your own, try this.

Take a sheet of paper and write down every single thing that will change, from organizing your own home and paying your own bills to deciding who gets the first shower and who gets the remote. You might note that your new home will be quieter because there will be fewer people around.

Your list can include your food choices, stocking the medicine cabinet and kitchen cupboards, what kinds of problems might arise with the house or apartment and how you’ll deal with them, how you’ll keep track of the money and where you’ll do the banking, who’ll be in charge of what, etc.

Sort out exactly what parts you are unsure of. Be sure to include the good and the bad things – things you are looking forward to, and the things that have you worried.

When your list is complete, set it aside for a day or two and let your idle brain resolve them for you. Amazingly, the brain can be extremely effective when you give it the problem and let it ‘do its thing’ while you get on with your day. Solutions will pop out at you at the most unexpected time. You will have amazing revelations when you least expect them. And at that very moment, you will experience a feeling of great satisfaction and relief.

The final step is to go back over your list and identify exactly what it is you’re afraid of and work on finding solutions. Do not labor over the problems themselves. Figure out how you’re going to deal with them, how you’ll make your decisions, decide how much on the list you can control and how you’ll control them.

For example, let’s say you are overwhelmed with unpaid bills and they are so out of control you feel you’ll never recover.

The first step is to establish why you got in this predicament in the first place. Quite possibly it’s because you didn’t set a budget. You had no idea how much you could afford to spend, so you just spent. Now the bill collectors are causing you extreme anxiety and you are dreading the imposing outcome.

In other words, you lost control of that part of your life. What you want to do now is take back control.

First, you have to figure out how to set your budget and how to figure out how much you can spend, and how you will pay off what you owe.

List all your bills with dates of when they are or were due. Start with the one that’s been overdue the longest and work your way down the list. Calculate how much your income is per month, how much you need to survive every month, and find out what’s left.

There are several ways you can proceed. You can focus on paying off the oldest bills first, or you can spread your money over all of your outstanding debts.

If this exercise causes you too much stress and anxiety, especially if you’re like me and do not have good math skills, find someone who can help you with it. Some volunteer organizations offer such services, so check at your local library, in your local phone book, or church.

Do this with the rest of the items on the list. Find solutions to all the things that make you feel anxious or nervous or that you just don’t feel comfortable with.

This exercise is a great way to take control, believe me. When all this stuff is floating around inside our brains, we get confused and anxious. Their importance magnifies to the point we blow it all out of proportion.

When we write them down, they take on a whole new perspective. They aren’t nearly as fearful as we thought. In fact, when we see some things written down we’ll feel downright silly that they scared us because they aren’t as big a problem or situation as we’d allowed ourselves to imagine.

Doing this will put you back in control so you can finally enjoy some relief from your anxiety disorder. Once you gain control of your situation, you will be ready to take back control of your life. Your anxiety disorder will dissipate and “feeling detached” will soon fade away.

One last bit of advice – only allow positive thoughts into your mind. When you doubt your ability to overcome your situation, remind yourself that you “can take control over this (because I’m strong or smart) and getting (stronger or smarter)”.

Do You REALLY Need Home Insulation?

Whether you live in a cold or hot climate, one of the most significant measures to take in saving on energy costs will be properly insulating your home. Living in South Florida, it becomes even more important during the hot summer months. If your air conditioner is battling the heat of the summer day, it will run longer than it should and cycle off much more frequently. All this means more electricity used, which in turn will drive up your electric bill. Since heat is basically invisible, it is often neglected as an influence in the performance of an air conditioning system. However, it is so pervasive, it must be tackled in order to gain efficiency of your HVAC system. The problem usually becomes apparent after the equipment has been checked meticulously, and the heat problem persists. This problem going unaddressed is understandable, since it can be costly to add insulation to a home. Verifying that the unit is operating perfectly is the first step in determining if your home needs more insulation.

The Harvard School of Public Health declares that over 46 million homes across the country do not have enough insulation in the attics and walls. Tinting windows can keep a lot of heat out of the airspace as well. This means that millions of dollars are being lost away through the windows, walls and ceilings of many homes. Insulation also allows the Air Conditioning system to reach it’s operating efficiency, which will aid you in saving your money. A 16 SEER system may perform like a 13 SEER system if the home has inadequate insulation. Again, this will show up as an increase in your energy bills.

We believe the attic and windows are a great place to start. This is assuming you have addressed any issues with air escaping or entering the home through cracks, crevasses and spaces between windows and under doors. Having the heat of the day infiltrate the home through the attic and windows can make an air conditioning system never cool the home to the temperature set on the thermostat. The system will cool efficiently in the evenings, but in the hottest of the day it will not be able to keep up with the heat in the air entering the home. If this happens to you, you may need more insulation added to or installed in your attic. Locating trees and bushes by exterior windows can make a significant difference in energy efficiency as well. Moreover, the older slatted or Jalousie windows must be changed. This is based on the fact that they may never completely seal the home off from the outside air.

One way to determine if your home needs insulating is to have a professional asses your home. He or she will asses every aspect of your home in regards to improving your energy efficiency. A thorough inspection along with a “Heat Load Calculation” is essential for determining if your Air Conditioning system is the correct size, and how much heat is infiltrating your home. There are many different types of insulation. Some of the different types of insulation used are:

  • Blanket: Batt and Roll Insulation
  • Foam Board or Rigid Foam
  • Loose-Fill and Blown-In Insulation
  • Concrete Block Insulation
  • Insulating Concrete Forms

Do not underestimate the need for sufficient insulation in your home. It can make all the difference in gaining control of your energy bill. More information can be found on AirCool Mechanical Systems Official Website, or energy.gov/energysaver/articles/where-insulate-home.

Concrete Permeability and Factors Affecting It

Permeability in concrete has direct relationship with the durability of the concrete. The lesser the permeability, the more durable the concrete will be. Permeability will make the concrete vulnerable to external media attack. These media include water, chemicals, sulfates, and etc. These external media, once capable of penetrating into concrete it will deteriorate the life span of that particular concrete structure. For example, water can cause corrosion to steel reinforcement bar in concrete. The permeability also reduces the resistance of concrete towards freeze-thaw action. Therefore, permeability is a very important characteristic of that need to be achieved in any application.

The permeability occurs in hardened concrete in two scenarios; firstly from the trapped air pockets from incomplete compaction, and secondly from the empty space due to loss of mixing water by evaporation. In both situations the air space is not good for concrete durability. It is therefore very important to make that any concrete placed in the formworks gets proper and adequate compaction. Some contractors might add water to the properly design concrete mix in order to make it more workable at site. This practice shall not be allowed at all for any reason. With so much development in concrete technology, now it is possible to do concreting without the need to compact it (or at least with minimum compaction). This type of concrete is known as self compacting concrete, which as it name sounds is capable of compacting on its own. It creates a very highly compacted and dense concrete; thus resulting in low permeability.

Since loss of mixing water is one of the reasons for higher permeability, simply adding water to concrete will create more air space after evaporation. Therefore, for any concrete to be watertight, the water-cement ratio shall be as low as possible. According to American Concrete Institute, for concrete exposed to fresh water the maximum water-cement shall not exceed 0.48, while this value shall be less than 0.44 if the concrete will be exposed to seawater.

Besides improper compaction and loss of mixing water, there are few other factors that affect the permeability in concrete. As the age of the concrete increases, the permeability will reduce. This is because concrete is material that will continue to hydrate over a long period of time as long as there is a presence of un-hydrated lime. So with the presence of water, the hydration products will fill the empty spaces in the matrix. Another factor that improves the permeability is the fineness of cement. Finer cement particles will hydrate much faster; thus creating the impermeable concrete faster.

What Foods Contain Electrolytes?

Electrolytes Explained:

Electrolytes contract muscles, generate electricity, and move fluids and water within the body. Some examples of electrolytes are Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Bicarbonate, Calcium, and Magnesium. Electrolytes are found in fruit juices, milk, and many fruits and vegetables (e.g. avocados, potatoes, bananas).

It is possible to get electrolytes from many healthy foods.

How much does anybody really know about Electrolytes? The word, Electrolytes, has become a household word lately because a lot of people are familiar with all the currently popular sports drinks. You’ve probably read that electrolytes are good for you and they are important to have when you’re dehydrated or sick. But the thing is, when you are sick, sugary sports drinks are the very last thing your body really needs. Did you know that you also can get electrolytes from many healthy foods?

The Real Facts About Electrolytes:

Electrolytes are liquids, solids, or gases that contain electrically conducting ions and can be measured by laboratory studies of blood serum. The general public wasn’t really aware of electrolytes until some sports drinks started making claims that they contained more electrolytes than water. People who work out or are physically active lose electrolytes when through sweat and need to replenish their electrolytes to regain their energy. Sweat is usually made up of 99 percent water and one percent electrolytes.

Types of Electrolytes:

What you probably have not been told is that the best source of electrolytes is from food, not from sugary drinks. Lots of vegetables, either canned, fresh or frozen vegetables, are high in electrolytes, as are fruits, bread and milk. Potatoes (mashed with salt added is best), avacados, dried fruit, soy products, coconut milk, red and white wine, bread and most meats are all sufficient options for replenishing your body’s electrolyte needs. However, excessive intake of inorganic sulfates can result in diarrhea.

Salted foods can also be used for sodium electrolyte replacement. Salted meats, peanuts, butter — all of these sources are also effective for replacing chloride which is another electrolyte that can be lost along with sodium through sweating. Excessive intake of sodium chloride can result in hypertension which can cause heart concerns so watch how much you consume.

Potassium is an electrolyte which can also be lost through sweat. It can be replaced with fruits like bananas, dairy products, vegetables, nuts and meats. When replaced through food alone, there have been no documented or reported side effects, but potassium replacement through supplementation can result in hyperkalemia. An overload of potassium can result in sudden death in individuals with kidney health issues or renal failure.

Spring water or tap water does not contain electrolytes. But water with a pinch of salt, sugar and flour added to it will provide your body with lots of electrolytes.

Misconceptions About Electrolytes:

You shouldn’t drink large amounts of water to re-hydrate yourself when you have been exercising. Rather, you should drink small amounts of water while at the same time eating an energy bar to replenish your electrolytes. Sports drinks are loaded with sugar but there are somne sugar-free brands out there if you look for them. When your body is still active during workouts, it will have a hard time absorbing the electrolytes until you have stopped for a small period of rest. So while you are engaging in a strenuous physical workout, just take in small amounts of water until you can get to the point of resting for a short while.

The Benefits of Electrolytes:

If your electrolytes are right, you will experience fewer muscle cramps and spasms, increased stamina and less soreness after a workout. If you wake up at night with muscle spasms or cramps, just put a pinch of salt into a glass of water and drink a few sips. Overnight your body will replenish its electrolytes and you won’t experience the same severity of cramps the next day.

A Warning About Electrolytes:

Beef jerky is high in electrolytes but it should not be eaten very regularly. Carcinogens are found in smoked foods, and even though most beef jerky eaters do not eat enough jerky to become sick, it is still important to eat small amounts of it if you are working out but not more than a couple times a week. Beef jerky is very salty so it is a wonderful source of electrolytes but it is not a great source of any other nutrients.

Some Homeopathic Remedies for Replenishing Electrolytes:

Epsom Salt Soak —

To instantly replenish needed electrolytes, create an epsom salts (Magnesium sulfates) bath which allows the minerals to soak directly into the body’s pores. Put 2 cups of Epsom salt in a warm bath every week.

Hydration is Important —

Everyone should drink plenty of water every day and you can add a teaspoon of salt to every 8 ounces of water you drink as an added bonus, contributing to a proper electrolyte balance. It is especially important to stay hydrated if you regularly work out. Sweating and exercise depletes your electrolytes so you need to take these precautions before beginning any strenuous activities.

Acid Reflux Treatment – The Medications Prescribed to Treat the Condition

Acid reflux treatment is required for you to impact this stomach condition that can cause all kinds of heartache and grief! If you have GERD or normally experience heartburn, then you know that a common symptom which is synonymous with this belly condition is discomfort, pain and a burning in your chest. Treatment is also needed to prevent long-term damage.

One of the first options necessary to treat acid reflux is to make lifestyle changes. But if this does not work out, then medication just might be next in line. Let’s talk about a few of the different kinds of medication that are often recommended by many healthcare providers:

1. Over the counter antacids – this neutralizes the acids in the stomach.

* Aluminum Hydroxide

* Calcium Hydroxide

* Calcium Carbonate

* Magnesium Hydroxide

* Magnesium Carbonate

* Magaldrate – this contains aluminum and magnesium

* Sodium Bicarbonate

2. Over the counter foaming agents – this lie in top stomach contents and this medication decreases the ability of the acid to come in contact with the esophagus.

* Alginic Acid (Gaviscon)

* Sodium Alginate (Gaviscon)

3. Over the Counter H2 Receptor Antagonist – it decreases the production of acid.

* Ranitidine (Zantac, generics)

* Famotidine (Pepcid, Fluxid, Ulcidine, generics)

* Cimetidine (Tagamet, generics)

* Nizatidine (Axid, generics)

4. Prescription strength H2-receptor antagonists – this type lessens the production of acid. These kinds of medications relieve symptoms in 60% of patients and heal mild esophageal complications in 40% of patients.

* Ranitidine (Zantac, generics)

* Famotidine (Pepcid, Fluxid, Ulcidibe, generics)

* Cimetidine (Tagamet, generics)

* Nizatadine (Axid, generics)

5. Proton Pump Inhibitors PPI – this kind also helps to reduce acid secretion and rapid symptoms relief with healing rates in about 90% of patients.

* Esomeprazole (Nexium

* Lansoprazole (Prevacid)

* Omeprazole (Losec, Prilosec, Zegerid)

* Pantoprazole (Pantolol, Protonix)

* Rabeprazole (AcipHex)

6. Prokinetics – this help strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter and increase rate of stomach emptying. It has a high incidence of side effects and most are of little benefit except in delayed gastric emptying or alkaline esophagitis.

* Bethanol (Urecholine, Duvoid, Urabeth)

* Metoclopramide (Reglan, generic forms)

* Domeperiodone

If still medications are not effective and the symptoms become more severe it is absolutely necessary for you to see a physician. Acid reflux treatment options are many but you need help from a professional to determine a suitable one specifically for you.

Mrs. Butters’ Secret Key Lime Pie Recipe

“Frozen Key Lime Pie recipe?” Fern Butters asked. “Child, I’ll take that secret with me to the grave.”

Fern Butters’ frozen key lime pie was legend. Every time President Harry S Truman went through Islamorada on Upper Matecumbe Key on his way to the “Little White House” in Key West, he stopped. More specifically, he

stopped at Fern Inn for some of Fern Butters’ frozen key lime pie.

And so did other folks, commoners and dignitaries alike-Papa Hemingway, Cordell Hull, Douglas Fairbanks, Julia Child . And me.

I didn’t see any of those famous folks. Except Julia Child. And I didn’t know who she was. Ignorance of youth.

But I did eat Mrs. Butters’ frozen key lime pie.

I wasn’t a child when I asked her about the recipe. I had recipes for my grandmother’s compressed fruit cake. And my grandfather’s elderberry wine. And a passel of others I’d collected from near and far. So I thought her recipe would fit right in with my collection.

Not so. I was a young pastor at her little church in Matecumbe. But I could have been Gabriel himself.

And could never obtain that closely guarded secret.

Many had tried to replicate her recipe, but without success. I saw Julia Child once try to wheedle the recipe from Fern Butters with no success. I heard she tied to duplicate the recipe-again, no success.

Of course, that may just be a legend. It’s believable. Everyone who ever ate her frozen key lime pie coveted the recipe.

Well, Fern is now dead. The Fern Inn has changed names. Fern took the recipe to the grave with her.

But, recently her daughter called me up. She said that after all these years she was going through her mother’s letters and things and trying to clean out an old dresser drawer packed with old letters and notes.

She came across an envelope with my name on it. She wanted to know if I were the same preacher that served the little church down in Matecumbe.

This was a strange event. I had moved to Wisconsin serving churches there for several years. When I returned to South Florida, I was a professor in a college for 33 years. I retired from the college and served a church in North Miami Beach for 13 years. I retired again. Then answered a desperation call to serve as chaplain at a retirement community. I just happened to be in the area where Fern Butters’ daughter could contact me.

She sent me the envelope, now yellow with age. Fern had been dead for some 40 or so years. I opened the envelope. The note read:

This is what you asked for. Use it wisely.

And there was the recipe!

Now I’ve wondered what to do with this recipe. I could, of course, just publish it. Or I could write a book about my days as a young pastor among the Keys Conchs, as the folks there called themselves. I might even sell it [How long would that last!?]

But I’ve decided to give it away. I’m not even going to swear the recipients to secrecy. I’m just going to give it to folks who have a love for unusual recipes and for historical recipes. I have a buddy from North Carolina, for example, whose family has a recipe for pumpkin soup handed down since pioneer days.

And then there’s my friend from Ladies Island in Beaufort County South Carolina. She claims her ancestors created Frogmore Stew.

There’s an aunt in Western Maryland says she will give me the recipe for “Puddin’,” a meat product that’s out of this world when used on pancakes. I’ve no idea what the ingredients are, but I long to find out.

Folks that are interested in these kinds of recipe and are willing to share their own favorites are invited to subscribe at no cost to COOKIN’ GOOD NEWSLETTER at http://www.cookin-good.com/.

Not only will subscribers receive a copy of Fern Butters’ frozen key lime pie recipe, but will also receive a monthly issue of the newsletter at no cost. Everyone is invited to send their own unique recipes.

And invite your friends to subscribe. They’ll love you for telling them about it.

But for those who are simply curious about the recipe, for those who don’t want to visit the web site, for those who don’t mind missing out on all the wonderful features found in Cookin’ Good Gazette, here’s the recipe.

With Fern’s secret ingredient [forgive me, Fern!].

Mrs. Butters’ Secret

Key Lime Pie Recipe

Ingredients

1 Cup sweetened condensed milk

6 egg yolks [save whites]

½ Cup key lime juice [genuine key lime]

6 egg whites [I told you to save them!]

1 Tablespoon cream of tartar

1 Cup sugar

1 graham cracker pie crust [preferred-regular crust permissible]

½ pint secret ingredient

Procedure

Filling

Add yolks to condensed milk and beat 8 minutes

Add secret ingredient and beat until well mixed

Add key lime juice and mix well

Fold into pie shell

Place in freezer until well set. Keep unused portion in the freezer for up to a week [if it lasts that long!]

Topping

While pie sets beat 6 egg whites with cream of tartar for 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup of sugar and whip until meringue makes peaks when beater is removed from mixture.

Add to top of pie

Brown in 350◦ oven and cool in refrigerator for 15 or more minutes for a regular pie or in the freezer for an hour if it is frozen key lime pie.

Secret ingredient. ½ pint of soft vanilla ice cream.

Don’t laugh. The addition of this secret ingredient has stumped many a jealous cook and chef, including, as I said, Julia Child. Reveal it and you take the mystery out of your own ability to produce “Harry Truman tested” Frozen Key Lime pie.

Primasil Silicones – Overview of Environments Where Silicone Rubber Is a Suitable Material

Silicone can be supplied as an oil, grease, sealant, or rubber.

The rubber is typically supplied in one of three forms – a room temperature vulcanisation (RTV) kit, as a liquid, or as high consistency rubber (HCR). In its uncured (un-vulcanised) form, the consistency of HCR silicone ranges from soft putty to cheddar cheese! This is in sharp contrast to most other rubbers, which have a much higher viscosity.

Silicone is resistant to very high and very low temperatures, and so is ideally suited to applications that must perform in the harshest of conditions. This includes engine parts, furnace seals, and components used in outer space!

Phenyl-based compounds have been developed for products in operation below the -55°C which general purpose silicone can withstand. These can be moulded, extruded, or calendered, and offer excellent resistance to temperatures down to -100°C.

High temperature resistant silicone compounds can withstand temperatures of up to 300°C for periods of up to 3 weeks. Temperature peaks above 300°C can be tolerated for very short periods of time but they are not recommended for continuous operation at these temperatures. The effect of high temperatures tends to lead to a hardening and increasing brittleness of the silicone so it loses its elastomeric properties.

Silicone will retain its properties regardless of the weather conditions to which it is exposed.

Wet, dry, cold, hot, or humid, parts made from silicone rubber will also not be affected by ozone or UV.

This has led to widespread use in the construction industry (e.g. coatings, fire protection, glazing seals), and automotive industry (external gaskets, external trim).

In addition to being resistant to rainwater, parts made from silicone are not adversely affected by immersion in seawater. This has enabled diving gear, seals and gaskets on submarines and ships, and components on oil-rigs to have a longer operational life.

Because silicone can be formulated to be electrically insulative or conductive, it is suitable for a wide range of electrical applications, including cable covers, insulating gaskets, conductive gaskets, and keyboard components.

Outstanding physical and mechanical properties are enhanced by exceptional resistance to ageing factors such as oxygen, ozone, humidity and moulds. These silicone compounds can be supplied with a high ash cohesion level if required and low burning toxicity.

Specialist insulating materials resist combustion arc tracking and environmental degradation. As such, they are ideally suited for use with high voltage and power transmission equipment such as insulators, surge arresters, and casing pipe.

Silicone is suitable for use in clean environments as the polymer does not support microbiological growth. This makes it ideal for medical devices.

Joint replacements, tubing, catheters, and all manner of medical devices are manufactured using medically approved silicone. Most processing methods can be used for these devices, provided they are carried out in a suitably clean environment.

As a low taint, non-toxic material, silicone can be used where contact with food is required. Coupled with its high temperature resistance, this makes it an ideal polymer for food moulds, baking machinery components, and vending machine tube. Over the last few years there has also been an increase in the number of household utensils manufactured from silicone rubber. Specific grades of silicone rubber are used widely in the production of baby bottle teats due to their cleanliness aesthetic appearance and low extractable content.

What Are Copper Nails and What Are They Used for?

Have you ever walked down a hardware store isle and seen copper nails? Nearly everyone has, but who buys those, and what are they used for? It isn’t often that you will find someone buying them. These nails are actually quite nifty and can be used for many different things. Learn about what they are used for and who uses them in this article.

Types of Copper Nails and What They are used for

Firstly, what kinds of copper nails are there? There are copper clout nails and copper annular ring clout nails, as well as many others. These are some of the most common. Other types include copper pins, slates, straps and disk rivets.

Copper clouts and annular rings are used primarily for slates and roofing materials such as tiles. They come in a huge array of different sizes because everyone needs different kinds of clouts for different projects. Most likely, you will end up using copper nails because building regulations prohibit the use of galvanised nails for roofing types such as slate, or because galvanised nails do not last in coastal regions.

Copper clouts provide a longevity that other types of nails will not provide. Also, copper nails have an ease of use that no other kind of nails have, as they can be easily pulled out, and they do not lose their protection. Galvanised nails often corrode very fast, which leads to problems such as roof slates sliding off of the roof. These nails are known for their endurance, which will make your roof last longer.

Copper pins are another type that are used most often for decorating, such as beading and other crafting applications. They are short and the perfect size for this and any decorating needs you have in your home. Additionally, they have a longer life than many other types of nails that are used in these decorating projects. However, they are for indoor use only.

Disk rivets are used exclusively for roofing. If you have fibre cement tiles or slates, these are the perfect way to secure them to your rooftop. Fibre cement tiles are much easier to use than traditional tiles and slates because they are easily replaced. With copper nails such as these, the job will be made even easier.

When you are in need of a good nail for decorating, roof work, or even killing trees, these are the perfect solution. Found at nearly any hardware store, copper nails are also very inexpensive, and can also be bought online from the likes of Tradefix Direct or Screwfix.

Who is a Fencing Master?

In the United States anyone can become a coach in any sport simply by saying that he or she is one. There may be limitations as to who can be employed as a coach, especially in youth programs, but if you want to be a coach, simply say you are one, and presto… you are one. This is particularly true in fencing, where not only the term “coach” is used, but also the terms “fencing master” and “maestro” are commonly assumed by individuals who want to be seen as experts in teaching the sport and preparing athletes.

This confusion makes it important to understand who actually is a fencing master and what qualifications that title demands. Internationally the governing body for the Olympic sport of fencing is the Federation Internationale d’Escrime (the FIE). The FIE recognizes the Academie d’Armes Internationale (the AAI) as the international professional coaching organization. In turn the AAI recognizes national coaching organizations. In the United States the recognized professional coaching organization is the United States Fencing Coaches Association (the USFCA). The USFCA is also recognized by the sport’s national governing body, the United States Fencing Association.

This trail of recognition is important because the certifying body for fencing masters in the United States is the USFCA. If you hold a diploma from the USFCA or one of the other national academies recognized by the AAI, you can legitimately call yourself a Fencing Master (or Maitre d’Armes).

So how does a fencing coach become a Maitre d’Armes. In the United States the USFCA certifies four levels of coaches:

Assistant Moniteur. This is an entry level position which qualifies an individual to assist in leading group classes in a club environment. The Assistant Moniteur must have completed at least 20 hours of practical teaching, and pass a written and a practical examination administered by a Moniteur or higher qualified coach.

Moniteur. The Moniteur is the first level of professional coach. Moniteurs are trained to teach group lessons in a club environment or to teach beginner or intermediate individual lessons. They must pass a written examination on rules, fencing technique and tactics, training methods and safety and risk management, and teach a complete lesson in a practical examination supervised by two Prevots or a Maitre d’Armes.

Prevot. A Prevot is a fully qualified coach capable of preparing advanced students for competition in individual teaching and training lessons. The Prevot completes a more demanding written examination that includes fencing tactical and training theory, and a practical examination involving teaching, training, and warmup lessons. Prevot examinations are supervised by two Maitres d’Armes.

Maitre d’Armes. A Maitre d’Armes is capable of preparing elite level competitors and of managing training programs and all of the activities of a fencing club or salle. They pass a more rigorous version of the practical examination and complete a thesis on some element of fencing theory, tactics, technique, or training. The candidate Maitre is examined by three Maitre d’Armes.

Starting in 2009 the USFCA started to certify Prevots and Maitre in single weapons, an option that had always existed for Moniteurs. Single weapon Prevots and Maitre are fully qualified to teach a single weapon and go through the same demanding practical examinations that are usually close to two hours in length. However, full Prevots and Maitres d’Armes must have demonstrated a high level of skill in all three weapons

This is a demanding process that requires encyclopedic knowledge, skill with the weapon, stamina, and the determination to succeed. Any Maitre d’Armes certified by the USFCA or by another country’s national academy is deservedly proud of the accomplishment. Ask to see their diploma. I am proud to show fencing students mine, and I don’t know any legitimately certified Master who would hesitate to do the same. When you look for a fencing coach, look for a certified professional who is a Moniteur, or Prevot, or Maitre d’Armes. You can be sure that their skills have been evaluated by their peers and found to be of a standard that will help you learn to be a better fencer.

How to Stop an Invisible Dog Fence From Continuously Beeping

I was in the middle of the lake fishing last Sunday and I get a frantic call from a lady with an Invisible dog fence brand system. She tells me her system is beeping and she can’t get it to stop. She further explains that she can’t get anyone on the phone at the dealer except someone that says they can schedule a service call and they’ll come and fix it. As she talks further she discloses that she has already unplugged it and it is still beeping and its driving her crazy. She has no use for the system as her dog had passed away over 2 years ago. The lady tells me she has called a couple different Invisible dog fence Dealers she found online and no one was willing to help her get the beep stopped.

As a formally educated businessman I find this attitude of the Invisible dog fence dealers to be all too common and absolutely reprehensible. They seem blind to providing service to their customers unless they can make another dollar on it. Now considering the Invisible dog fence Brand systems are the most expensive on the market you would expect for this added price that they would bend over backwards to help their clients. Unfortunately that is not very often the case and quite often it seems just the opposite. The more it cost the less “Value added” service you receive. If it didn’t give the industry such a black eye I would care less.

Well back to the subject at hand. The unit was beeping after being unplugged. Well in order to beep it needs power. If its unplugged there must be an additional power source for example a battery backup. I ask her to describe what wires she saw connected to the unit that was beeping. She explained there were two twisted together, those being the loop wires, there was a black wire that was attached to the transformer she had already unplugged, there was a green ground wire, and there was also a black and red wire together that went to another larger square box on the wall beside the transmitter.

This was the battery backup that she needed to disconnect. Most invisible dog fence dealers love to sell battery backups as it makes additional income for them although it is not very practical in most applications. I instructed her that she needed to unplug the black and red wire combination by simply grasping them close up to the unit and pulling. The small plastic plug disengaged and the beeping stopped.

She thanked me profusely and offered to pay me for my assistance when I refused her gesture she offered to send me the unit as payment for my help. I told her how she could at least recover some of her money from the system by selling it on eBay as there are always buyers on there wanting them. My personal experience with eBay is that there are several invisible dog fence dealers who buy product on there to resell to their customers that are looking for used products. At least these invisible dog fence dealers are trying to provide added services to their clients.

5 Reasons Why People Prefer Serviced Apartments Instead of Hotels

Temporary residences like serviced apartments and furnished suites are specifically designed to cater to short term and even long term accommodations complete with amenities and features that you need when you travel away from home. This kind of accommodation is very popular among business owners and companies. The good news is that leisure travellers and vacationers are starting to know and appreciate this kind of living arrangement. There are reasons why more and more people are renting furnished apartments and other types of alternative hotels and accommodation, these are:

  1. It is definitely cheaper compared with regular hotels. If you are going to average it based on the number of occupants and days, you get better bargain. In addition, the price of rent is fixed and you do not need to bother about service charges and other taxes. Vacationers find the home atmosphere convenient and the kitchen feature is a blessing as they will not worry about spending more money for tips and other service charges once they use the kitchen to cook their own food.
  2. Travelling in groups is never more fun. The downside of using hotel rooms is the fact that there are limited number of occupants allowed per room. With serviced apartments, your group can stay in one place; thus, there is no need to knock on many doors just to meet and talk with them. Serviced apartments or furnished suites also have living rooms where you can stay and spend time away with your group.
  3. It offers an ambiance as if you never left home and went on vacation. Hotels are too impersonal and very often makes guest go outside to look for enjoyment in order to avoid the cold atmosphere hotel rooms in general have; thus, it is an additional expense for leisure travellers and vacationers. The absence of a reception or lobby area is not a detriment as most apartments of this kind offer amenities and features regular hotels provide like meeting rooms, housekeeping, laundry, restaurants, and even parking spaces. So, one can have a residence and an office at the same time when you rent furnished apartments and other types of alternative residences in places that you travel.
  4. It is a home away from home since it has amenities that hotel rooms do not have like kitchen and dining area, furniture like a sofa bed, an office desk, and features which usual hotels offer like strong Wi-Fi connection, working area, and direct telephone lines.
  5. You can choose your desired location; you can choose one near your office or you can book one that is near famous landmarks and interesting places if you are a vacationer. You can have a single bedroom apartment for rent or a three bedroom apartment if you travel by groups.

Based on these reasons, it is not surprising that in days to come, serviced apartments will be the preferred choice when it comes to accommodations.

Keystone Resort Vacation Rentals: Mountain House Vs River Run Base Areas

Keystone Resort, Colorado is home to world class skiing terrain, incredible dining, affordable cat skiing, three mountain peaks and it is one of the few resorts in Colorado to offer night skiing, making for one of the longest ski days around, offering visitors a huge bang for their buck. It is also home to Kidtopia- a festival where kids can have a blast, participating in fun activities geared just for them, including visiting and playing in a huge snow fort at the top of the Mountain! Not to mention the countless other winter activities to enjoy such as snow tubing, ice skating, fine dining, sleigh rides, live music, festivals, and more!

So you’ve made the decision to visit Keystone this winter, now comes the hard part, where to stay? Keystone is a small town, about 3 miles in length sitting in a valley at the bottom of the mountain. The mountain itself is made up of three separate peaks that line up from North to South; Dercum, North Peak, and the Outback, each offering it’s own unique terrain and features. Dercum Mountain is the furthest peak North and it’s front side offers the only two access points to the entire mountain, River Run and Mountain House.

Of the two base areas, River Run is the newer of the two and is known as the main Village, where both the gondola and the Summit Express chair lift pickup and take you to the top of Dercum Mountain. This village features a pedestrian-only walking area, with plenty of cute boutiques, ski rental shops, coffee shops and restaurants. There is an outside overnight ski check near the gondola and bathrooms and lockers inside the season pass and ticketing office. The only thing this base area is really missing is a central ‘ski lodge’, but making up for it are plenty of restaurants within walking distance of the slopes. The Kickapoo Tavern is a fun place to have lunch or an apres ski beer, with a big outdoor patio that overlooks the slopes. Some fun features of River Run Village are the Dercum Square Outdoor Ice Rink, the various statues throughout the village, the many unique shops and an outdoor gas fire pit, which is perfect for warming up at on a cold day. There are a cluster of River Run accommodation options that are all within yards of the gondola, including the Springs, Jackpine, Arapahoe, Black Bear, Silver Mill, Dakota, Buffalo, Expedition Station and Red Hawk Lodge. The two true ski-in, ski-out properties at Keystone are Lone Eagle and the Timbers, which are actually across the Snake River Bridge just past the gondola and then up the slopes a few yards from the Village.

Both bases are home to ski schools, skier services and rental shops. Mountain House has a great beginner’s area with a magic carpet and easy chair lift. You can find similar beginner terrain at the mid-mountain gondola stop and at the top near Schoolmarm. Although you won’t find the pedestrian ‘mall’ area here with the same extensive shopping and dining options as River Run, you will find that Mountain House is a true ski resort base area complete with a lodge with indoor lockers, a cafeteria, a bar, ski supply shop and bathrooms; suiting any skier’s needs. You will also find a lift ticket office here at the base near the two chair lifts, the Peru and Argentine. The Peru Lift takes you to the top of Area-51, along with some green and blue runs and you can be back to the River Run Base area in just one run or hop on the quick mid-mountain Montezuma lift to head up to the top.

Lodging prices at Mountain House tend to be a little lower than River Run, while offering most of the same conveniences. Chateaux DuMont Properties are very popular and unique, most feature a private hot tub with a slopeside view! Slopeside Condos are another great option at Mountain House, and are just steps from the lifts. There are quite a few properties here that are within walking distance to the mountain at a fraction of the cost. If you feel the need to stop by the main village, just ski down or take a shuttle!

There are also plenty of lodging options outside of the two main villages. Settler’s Creek in East Keystone is one of the newest and most popular housing developments to the resort and feature beautiful multi-story town homes with garages and gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. In the center of the neighborhood is ‘Minnie’s Cabin’, a central recreational gathering spot, complete with a heated outdoor pool, hot tub, pool table, grill, and hangout area to host gatherings and barbeques.

Keystone Resort hosts a free resort shuttle that will take you just about anywhere you need to go within Keystone and most lodging complexes are serviced by the shuttle. Most rides to the slopes from anywhere in Keystone are 10 minutes or less! There is also a free county-wide transit system known as the Summit Stage which makes it very easy to get around in the high country without a car. The Denver International Airport is just a mere 90 minutes away and there are numerous shuttle companies that will take you to and from the airport.

If you are willing to stay outside of the main villages at Keystone, you will often be able to find better deals and prices on your accommodations. Be sure you choose a property management company that lets you pick the exact property you are staying at so you will know what to expect and can plan your trip ahead of time. If you have a large group, ask your property manager about renting a private home! Wherever you stay in Keystone, you will find it is very easy to find everything you are looking for and more!

Housing Boa Constrictors – 3 Best Types of Boa Enclosure

Boa constrictors have become one of the most popular of all snake species in recent years for good reason. They are truly beautiful snakes, generally quite docile and easy to handle, and with relatively modest care requirements. They are however a large snake, and as such require a large and sturdy enclosure. There are a number of different approaches to housing boas, so let’s take a look at each in turn.

Melamine vivarium

Melamine is a synthetic sheet material comprised of chipboard covered in a waterproof plastic veneer. It is inexpensive, lightweight and waterproof making it an ideal material for snake enclosures. Vivariums can be purchased ready built, or flat-packed in a huge assortment of sizes. They can also be ordered in custom sizes from many supplier, and are quite simple to build for anyone with reasonable DIY skills.

Typically they are rectangular with sliding glass doors at the front. Grilles or air vents must be included as good ventilation is essential. A 6′ by 2′ by 2′ vivarium is ideal for an adult boa.

Melamine vivariums are a popular choice, since they are sturdy, inexpensive and easy to clean. Care must be taken however with the internal corners which can be difficult to clean and harbour bacteria.

Plastic vivarium

Modern plastic vivariums are now available in an ever increasing range of sizes. They are sturdy and lightweight and have rounded internal corners making them very easy to keep clean. They are available with sliding or hinged doors, and some are pre-wired for heating and lighting.

They tend to be more expensive than melamine vivariums, and there isn’t always such a wide range of sizes available, but their ease of set-up and use make them very popular choices for housing boas.

Built in vivarium

An alternative to using a shop bought or DIY standard vivarium is to build one in place. If you have a suitable alcove such as between 2 walls, or under the stairs, a built in vivarium can look great, and give your snake a lot of room. The exact size and shape will depend on the room available, so you must take that into consideration before deciding on a built in enclosure. Boas are mostly terrestrial so floor area is more important than height, although many boas will climb is given the chance, especially when young.

The advantages of a built in enclosure are of course the ability to tailor the look and size specifically to your needs, and built in enclosures can look fantastic.

The final choice on how to house your boa will be a matter of personal choice. Depending on your budget, the space you have available, and possibly your DIY skills you have a number of options. While there are other housing options, the three I’ve covered here are the most suitable for anyone keeping a single boa at home.